Everything you need to know about the US election in Myanmar
THIS is it. Americans will head to the polls tonight (Myanmar time) after one of the most divisive presidential campaigns since the whole thing kicked off in 1766. Usual politicking around finely-tuned talking points that appeal to the swinging centre has become a faint memory of elections past, thanks mainly to a news cycle driven by the rampaging Donald Trump. It was only four short years ago when the aspirations of then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney were torpedoed after he criticised 47 percent of the electorate as “believing that they are victims”. That now seems downright gentlemanly when compared to the bombast of Trump: Mexicans immigrants were “rapists”, Muslims should be “banned” and one inquisitive female reporter had “blood coming out of her wherever”. This has not been lost on Americans in Myanmar. “It’s shocking to me that cruelty can be such an effective campaign strategy,” said Yangon resident Ashton Strait who recently cast her ballot, summing up the Trump phenomenon as “very surprising and disappointing”. And yet – Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton finds herself in an election that has significantly tightened during the last stretch. A matter of weeks ago, one metric on the polling aggregate website Five Thirty Eight predicted the likelihood of a Clinton win at almost 90 percent. It is now around 65pc. “In the final week of the campaign, the race appears to be narrowing,” said Laura Grace from Democrats Abroad in Yangon. Grace blamed this “in part due to the unprecedented and vague announcement by FBI director James Comey about the possible discovery of emails related to Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state”. The FBI has since said there is no evidence in these emails which warrant new action against Clinton. Still, Grace said there had been a shift “not necessarily because people are switching from Clinton support to Trump support … [but] more likely coming from undecided voters who now indicate they may vote for Trump”. Still, it’s far from a toss-up, with Clinton enjoying a lead in the most important swing states and early voting numbers appearing to favour her. For those watching especially closely – the tipping point states will likely be Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. With these three, so goes the country. Yankophiles will be able to watch the count – then toast the success of their preferred candidate or drown their sorrows – as 50th Street Bar is holding an election watch party starting tomorrow at 7:30am. “Typically, the results of the election are called once polls close on the West Coast around noon or early afternoon our time. However, a close race in some swing states, especially Florida, could delay things a bit. [We’ll] be there as long as it takes,” Grace said. And once President Clinton or President Trump has the race won? “As nice as it would be to sit back after the election, there is still a lot of work to be done. Significant healing and compromise is required to move forward as a country,” Grace said. This may be difficult. Trump has frequently called the election “rigged” and consequently an ABC News poll found that 84pc of his supporters are worried about a fraudulent outcome. The constant talk of a stolen election has elicited extreme responses from Trump supporters. “If Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” one former Republican Congressman Tweeted – a worrying sentiment that’s been echoed in darker corners of social media. Whoever wins, the coming days could be some of the more challenging in recent US history.
The US-Election Watch Party will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at 50th Street Bar, 9/13 50th Street, Botataung township starting at 7:30am.
‘As nice as it would be to sit back after the election, there is still a lot of work to be done. Significant healing and compromise is required to move forward as a country.’ Laura Grace Democrats Abroad
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (left) faces off against the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump early tomorrow morning local time in what some consider to be the most absurdly partisan US election ever. This could be the end of modern American
democracy as we know it.